How MRU got involved with Bell Let’s Talk Day away from campus
By Noel Harper, News Editor
Jan. 28 marked this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day, the telecommunications company’s annual initiative to raise money for mental health efforts through online interactions within social media and text messaging.
In past years, Mount Royal University (MRU) hosted a Bell Let’s Talk fair on campus to raise awareness of the event. It was complete with a showcase of available mental health supports for students, branded swag and a wall of speech bubble posters for the community to fill in with words of mental health advice and affirmations.
2020’s Bell Let’s Talk day also saw MRU host the “Let’s Talk Hope” event by National Hope Talks — a seminar and conference on mental health that included several guest speakers — organized in conjunction with the Bell campaign.
This year, the speech bubble wall went virtual, with MRU Wellness Services offering students the chance to share mental health advice through social media about resiliency through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bell also offered a selection of downloadable self-care activities, including a month-long self-care challenge, a chatterbox featuring mental health conversation topics, and the kindness box — an origami box fillable with personalized messages written about a friend, family member or loved one.
MRU’s standard fair along main street was taken online through the university’s social media accounts, which promoted campus resources and mental health discussions. A virtual photo booth was also featured, where Bell Let’s Talk photos counted as actions towards the day’s total.
In the fall, MRU Wellness Services created “Tools for Success: Models for Exemplary Student Mental Health Initiatives at Alberta Post-secondary Institutions,” a mental health toolkit, with the help of a provincial grant.
The university also offers counselling, mental health workshops and peer programs, an online folder collection of mental health resources and conversation tips, and the Campus Well magazine on mental and physical wellness.
Bell Let’s Talk 2021 raised nearly $8 million for mental health causes after the hashtag was shared more than 159 million times throughout the day, setting a record.